FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re here to answer your questions

Do I need cataract surgery?

Cataracts occur as a clouding of the eyes’ natural lens, the part of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. Early symptoms of a cataract are trouble with night driving or reading small print, difficulty watching TV, and decreased color in your vision.  When these symptoms begin impacting your daily routine, a cataract consultation with Dr. Carlson will confirm whether or not your cataract is mature enough for surgical removal and if you are a candidate for options such as femtosecond laser and premium lens in conjunction with cataract surgery. This surgery is done as an outpatient procedure with very little downtime and almost immediate improvement in your vision.

What options do you offer in conjunction with cataract surgery?

The options associated with cataract surgery that you may or may not be a candidate for are femtosecond laser for treatment of astigmatism, Restor and Toric premium lens and iStent or express shunt for treatment of mild to moderate glaucoma.

Does my insurance cover femtosecond laser and premium lens?

No. Neither Medicare nor private insurance companies cover the options of femtosecond laser for treatment of pre-existing astigmatism nor multifocal lens implants that treat presbyopia. These are condition that insurance companies do not cover.

Am I a candidate for laser vision correction?

The only way to know for sure if you are a candidate for laser vision correction is to have a laser vision correction consultation. Our consultations are comprehensive eye exams and at the conclusion, Dr. Carlson will present you with all of your options including LASIK, Lasek or PRK and give you the information you need to select the procedure that is best for you and your vision. You will also have an opportunity to meet with our patient care coordinator to schedule a procedure if you are ready to proceed with laser vision correction.

How quickly quickly does Botox work and how long does it last?

The three main areas to treat using Botox Cosmetic® are the forehead, the area between your eyebrows and the crow’s feet. Depending on the individual, each area could require between 10 and 20 units of Botox. It takes about 7–10 days to see full results which last about three to four months.

What are my payment options?

Learn about the payment options we offer.

Where are you located and how do I get to Claris?

We are located in the Park Avenue Medical Office Building at the intersection of 24th street and Park Avenue just north of Abbott Northwestern Hospital. For detailed directions to our clinic and a map of the campus please go to the contact page.

Where do I park and how much does it cost?

Most people choose to park in the ramp on the south side of 24th Street at a fixed cost of $4. You can also find parking on Park Avenue which is free. There are also a very limited amount of handicapped parking directly in front of our building.

Do you accept my insurance?

Find information on insurance and billing.

Do I need referral?

If you have a primary care clinic listed on your insurance card, go there for all of your primary medical care and if have received referrals from that clinic in the past to see specialty providers outside that clinic and/or care system, then, most likely you will need a referral to come to Claris Eye Care & Surgery. We recommend that you contact your primary care physician/nurse to initiate the referral giving them the name of our clinic, Claris Eye Care & Surgery, the name of our provider, Keith Carlson, MD, and request the start date the same day as your appointment at Claris, permission to consult and treat over a 6- to12-month period with up to 12 visits. You will want to make sure this referral is in place before your first appointment as you may not have any coverage at all without a referral.

Will my visit will be covered by my insurance plan?

You can refer to your master medical insurance plan document to see what is covered and if so, how your coverage reads (i.e., copay, deductible and/or coinsurance) or what’s not covered. You could also call and ask them specifically if you have coverage for a routine eye exam and/or an eye exam with a medical diagnosis and what the coverage is for each of those exams. Finally, you could confirm that Claris Eye Care & Surgery, NPI #1841425899 in Minneapolis, MN is in network for your insurance plan.

What’s the difference between a routine eye exam and an exam with a medical diagnosis?

A routine eye exam is when you come in to have your eyes examined on a regular basis even though you aren’t having any issues with your vision except maybe some blurriness requiring a new eyeglass prescription. Some insurance companies only cover routine eye exams through a vision plan and will not cover them if submitted through your medical insurance plan. It is a good idea to call your insurance company before your visit to confirm whether or not you have coverage for a routine eye exam, what the coverage is and whether it’s through a vision plan or your medical insurance plan. Please let us know when you are scheduling your appointment that you need a routine eye exam. Additionally, at the beginning of your visit when the technician asks you the reason for your visit, state that you are there for a routine eye exam. When you have a concern about your vision, the condition of your eyes or you see Dr. Carlson regularly for the follow-up of a medical condition such as glaucoma, the diagnosis will be a medical one and the exam will be billed to your medical insurance company.

Do you accept Vision Plans for routine eye exams?

The only vision plan we are contracted with is Spectera. Since we don’t dispense contact lenses or glasses we are unable to contract with the other major vision plan carriers. You might have limited out-of-network benefits for which you would need to file a paper claim yourself to receive any reimbursement.

What is a refraction and is it covered by insurance?

A refraction is a measurement of the lens power necessary to prescribe glasses or other corrective lenses. Many medical plans, including Medicare and Medicare supplements/replacement plans do not cover refractions. If your insurance company does not pay for this service, you are responsible for this charge of $76. It is ultimately your decision whether or not you need a refraction so if you know you don’t have coverage for one, unless you really need a new prescription, just let our technicians know at the beginning of the visit that you don’t want a refraction done.

Who do I contact if I have a question about a bill from Claris?

You can call Mel Hannegraf, Clinic Supervisor, at 612-775-8011.

Is Botox treatment for Blepharospasm covered by insurance?

Yes. Botox Cosmetic treatment is considered medically necessary when used to treat Blepharospasms around the eye area. We do need to have some documentation that you have been experiencing them for a while and that other limited treatment options haven’t worked for you. You will also want to check with your insurance to find out if this procedure will require a prior authorization and also how it would be covered.

Do you have a patient portal where I can access my records?

Yes. We have a Patient Portal which allows you to access your medical records and send secure messages electronically. View enrollment details.

What is the affiliation between Claris and the Phillips Eye Institute? Is Claris an Allina Health Clinic?

Claris Eye Care & Surgery is an independent, private practice owned and operated by Keith Carlson, M.D. However, Dr. Carlson performs all of his surgical procedures at the Phillips Eye Institute and is employed by Allina to work at their Eagan and Farmington Allina Health Clinics (AHC) one half day per week. Both the Phillips Eye Institute and (AHC are Allina-owned facilities. So while they are completely different entities, there is a strong connection between the two as Phillips is the only facility where Dr. Carlson performs surgery and we collaborate with AHC to care for mutual patients.

Does Dr. Carlson see patients anywhere else in the Twin Cities?

Yes. Dr. Carlson sees patients at the Allina Health Clinics in Eagan, Farmington and Woodbury. You need to call these clinics directly to schedule. Wait times may be longer to see Dr. Carlson at these clinics so if you need to be seen quickly, consider scheduling an appointment at his private practice in Minneapolis: Claris Eye Care & Surgery.

Do you accept Allina Partner Care insurance?

No, only Allina Health Clinics and Allina hospitals accept Allina Partner Care insurance so because Claris Eye Care & Surgery is an independent, private practice, we can’t accept Allina Partner Care insurance.

I live out-of-state, can I still come to your clinic?

Yes. We have a number of patients who come to Claris Eye Care & Surgery from out-of-state. However, you should check with your insurance company first to see if you have in-network benefits for out-of-state providers.

What’s the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

An optometrist performs eye exams, diagnostic testing and primary eye care treatments. When they suspect medical conditions that require more advanced testing and treatment such as glaucoma or cataracts, they refer to an ophthalmologist who can further diagnose and treat surgically, if necessary.

Do you co-manage surgical patients with optometrists?

Yes. We have a number of optometrists who routinely refer cataract patients to us for surgery and we then send those patients back to the referring optometrist for post-operative care.

What eye care related products do you sell at your clinic?

We carry many eye care products at Claris. Oasis artificial tears which have no toxic preservatives but do have an active ingredient of glycerin making it effective with as little as two applications per day; OCuSOFT Lib Scrub Original Formula for treatment of blepharitis; Focus Vitamins, a premium supplement which contains essential vitamins and minerals to support macular health and we will refer you to the experts at PRN Omega Health to assist you in ordering a premium fish oil formula that is pure, potent and of the highest quality.

Which cosmetic services and products do you provide at your clinic?

Find out about all our cosmetic services and products. We carry Botox Cosmetic®, Juvederm® XC and Juvederm Voluma™ XC dermal fillers, SkinMedica®, a medical grade skincare line whose products are scientifically formulated and clinically tested and Latisse® which grows your eyelashes longer, fuller and darker.

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